Trolley Trestle Lowered into Cityplace Turntable, Positioned For Influx of More Charming Vehicles (People Too)

lowering trestle.jpg
Photos by Leslie Minora
The construction team lowers the turntable trestle at Cityplace Station.
For 14 years, a salvaged portion of a Southern Pacific Railroad bridge from 1909 gathered dust, waiting to be recycled as main support of the trolley turntable now under construction at Cityplace Station near the West Village. Earlier today, a giant crane lifted the piece of bridge and lowered it into a hole, where it will rotate on tracks to redirect McKinney Avenue Transit Authority's trolleys.

Say what you will about trolleys -- they're charmingly old-fashioned, expensive as all hell and the subject of much hullabaloo around town. Both despite and because of that, more streetcars are moving in and need a place to turn around. The turntable, funded by the Cityplace TIF, willl help to provide faster and more reliable service as the fleet is expanded.

John Landrum, the chief operating officer of the MATA, which runs the streetcars, said that the turntable, scheduled to begin operating in October, will be the only one of its kind in North America. "It's fun," Landrum said, "Anytime you take an idea from its conception and actually see it done in concrete and steel, it's a fulfilling experience."

john landrum jim reagan.jpg
CEO of the Uptown Public Improvement District, Jim Reagan (left), and John Landrum, COO of McKinney Avenue Transit Authority, watched the lowering of the trestle earlier today.
Jim Reagan, CEO of the Uptown Public Improvement District, which will maintain the surrounding grounds, expects that the turntable and the outdoor plaza will quickly turn the long-vacant plot of land into a tourist area -- "a green space with trees, grass, and places to sit down."

Most current trolleys are double-sided and don't need a turntable, but a majority of the vintage trolleys available to the city for expansion are single-sided and need a place to change direction. Nonetheless, Landrum said, "The double-ended cars will probably just use it because it's cool."

Now that the trestle is in place, it will be welded to wheels along the track and tested, and a deck with tracks will be built to fill out the rest of the hole. Then, come October, you can lay in the grass sippin' lemonade and watching the streetcars glide by.

trestle on tracks.jpg
Close-up of the rotating trestle on the tracks.

Hank Haney Story 1.jpg
Graphic rendering of what the turntable plaza will eventually look like.



My Voice Nation Help
31 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Transit Jeff
Transit Jeff

It would seem to me that a trolley loop would be much more practical and less of a maintenance problem.  Yes, this might be 'quaint' but it will be a costly nightmare to maintain, operate and get parts for. Has anybody given that any serious thought?

Jvlate
Jvlate

Actually we have given it a lot of thought and the turntable is not a high maintenance item due to good design.  by the way, have you priced real estate in the area lately?  A loop simply uses too much ground which is not available.

Andy Nold
Andy Nold

Yeah, I really don't understand Transit Jeff's comment. It's a recycled bridge truss with modern outrigger wheels, a big giant center bearing and stock AC motor. It's not rocket science and there are railroad turntables that have been giving good service for decades.

Stephen Greif
Stephen Greif

Loop will not be as much of a draw to the area, also the table will be operated by the motorman of the street car, all he will need to do is push a button and It will not be completely necessary until the completion of our down town loop/expansion and the restoration and Edition of our single ended Pcc cars to the line. all will be done in due time as volunteers and funding become available. Stephen Greif, Volunteer  

Andy Nold
Andy Nold

 I'm sorry Jeff, but your ignorance of the facts is showing. Please take the opportunity to visit the new streetcar turntable when it opens. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. For the record, I am not a spokesperson or employee of MATA, just used to volunteer there and enjoy the street railways as a hobby.

fistofsouth
fistofsouth

I guess that would be the only transit loop in North America up there in the city of Brotherly Shove?

I hope you see where I'm going with this.

Transit Jeff
Transit Jeff

Well for one thing Andy, it's much easier to simply operate a street car around a loop rather than have it turned on a turntable. I'm sure the turntable won't be remote controlled. So therefore, it will require a person that will have to be stationed there and paid to do it. His/her salery and benefits will go on for years. It would be far less expensive in the long run to simply have the motormen operate the cars around a loop. Regarding real estate, a tight radius loop might not take up as much space as that property in the graphic rendering shown above. SEPTA in Philly, for example, just installed a new trolley loop at the Sugar House Casino at Frankford & Delaware Aves., which is much smaller and tighter than your proposed turntable property. Full size PCC cars will be using the new loop.

Jacob
Jacob

So what's the timeline on updating the Cityplace Station entrance?  That thing is hideous.

Jvlate
Jvlate

Part of the turntable construction we will turn the DART station around to face the Turntable plaza.

elbueno
elbueno

That's the biggest win to me...it looks as if the the turntable directly connects to the Cityplace entrance.

db
db

Thanks to all that have given their time and worked so hard to get this done.  And I like the idea of looking at going to Knox.

Dallasdustin
Dallasdustin

How will it be the only one in the nation? San Francisco has at least two maybe more.  Unless it is automatic and then maybe I can see it... 

Jvlate
Jvlate

But these are little ones for Cable cars!  We will have the only streetcar turntable in North America.

Andy Nold
Andy Nold

It's not the only turntable, but it is the only turntable of this design. And it will be pushbutton operated with a computer control. I've heard a suggestion of having music play when it turns. I suggested Merry Go Round Brokedown. Pretty advanced turntable from the plans I have seen.

US175guy
US175guy

Music, huh?  Could be interesting--and entertaining. I know something else they could play:  the do-dee-oh-dee-doh song from the Price is Right game 'Cliffhangers'!

G_David
G_David

The ones in S.F. are man-powered.  I would assume these are motorized.

Andy Nold
Andy Nold

 Oh also, IIRC, the turntables in San Fran are exclusively for the use of the cable cars. This is probably the only streetcar turntable in North America. Big difference between a c.car and and s.car.

Montemalone
Montemalone

When will the line be extended on up McKinney to Harvard and back down Cole? It would get a whole lot more use that way, considering Knox St,

cp
cp

Where is "Harvard" street? 

Andy Nold
Andy Nold

No time soon. Just send money.

Okies
Okies

When will the line be extended to Oklahoma?

DallasMan
DallasMan

Amen!  I'm all for the extension downtown on Olive, but it makes sense to me that the MCKINNEY AVENUE streetcar should go all the way down McKinney Avenue, at least to Knox!

Stephen Greif
Stephen Greif

They are building down olive to get a better connection with dart and down town before expanding north in the somewhat distant future. 

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

I would love to know if the October opening means we'll also be seeing the newer streetcars then, or simply see the current fleet using the turntable. In other words, when can we expect to see the newer streetcars (I assume Toronto PCCs?) along McKinney Ave.?

cp
cp

 They will need the downtown loop at the other end in order to "turn" the PCC's.

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

I didn't think about that... thanks for clarifying! I think I read here once that it would be very late next year or early 2013 when the downtown loop is complete. Those PCCs will look awesome crossing the new park!

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...